Despite Hacking Fears, Americans Lack Mobile Security

The majority (69 percent) of Americans think having their personal information stolen in their lifetime is inevitable, according to a Citrix report.

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Despite recent high-profile data theft attacks, many American workers have not taken action to protect information on their personal and corporate-issued devices, according to a survey of more than 1,000 consumers, commissioned by Citrix.

The majority (69 percent) of Americans think having their personal information stolen in their lifetime is inevitable, and 84 percent feel their personal information is more vulnerable now than a year ago.

"The most surprising and concerning statistic from the survey has to be that 88 percent of employed Americans do not use work devices with trusted company security software," Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist for Citrix, told eWEEK. "Without trusted company security software, information is naked and exposed—and that includes enterprise information, personal information and customer information. We can also surmise that these work devices are not company-managed, as those devices would have been preconfigured with antimalware suites, personal firewalls, encryption and other enterprise-level security measures."

Roemer said if these are unmanaged “bring your own” devices, security has been reduced to the lowest common denominator— the four–digit PIN—to unlock the screen.

"Consumers are bombarded with reports of weekly data breaches, reminders to change passwords often and directives to configure for security. The problem is that mobile security is tough—and even security professionals struggle with keeping mobility secured," Roemer explained. "With so many configuration and policy choices and so much at stake, the industry needs to preconfigure for security and employ services that keep security settings optimal and balanced against user experience."

He said simple choices for picking the right level of security for the scenario, combined with containerization and encryption, will protect mobile beyond the measures that would otherwise indiscriminately apply across the device, noting that security automation is the key to protecting mobility.

More than one in three respondents said they felt that companies spend more on their social media strategy than on their data protection strategy, and 70 percent of Americans think it would be riskier to trust a company with their Social Security number than to carry their Social Security card in their wallet.

"The threat landscape for security is about to go through its Big Bang moment, thanks to IoT [Internet of Things] and microservices," Roemer warned. "Consumers that previously only had to worry about the security of a couple devices, a handful of apps and data that was primarily file-based will now find themselves protecting a very complex mesh of devices, interwoven apps and P2P [peer to peer] services with data that is more attribute-based than file-based."

Roemer added that the complexity of the IoT fabric and all of the autonomous utility it provides will explode the threat landscape and force the security industry to innovate around more innate and automated protective measures that can keep up with increasingly digital lifestyles.